Local News

Friday Storms Leave Mark Across State

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JOHNSTON COUNTY — Friday's severe weather left damage of all kinds across the state. In Wake County, some problems can be solved with a rake and wheelbarrow, but other scars will take more time to heal.

The fierce storms were only temporary, but daylight showed permanent damage in some areas. Wake County Sees Downed Trees, Power Lines and Damaged Buildings

"We have a tobacco barn [that has] been in the family 50 years. [The storm] took that and blew it in the pond down there," says Wake County farmer Terry Weaver.

People in the Sandy Plains area near Falls Lake lost buildings big and small. Despite ruined roofs and damaged double-wides, no one was hurt, not even the smallest creatures. A dog named Ranger dashed inside Keith Quimby's Ford Ranger pick-up truck for protection during the storm.

"That is the work truck. I wouldn't let him get in the good truck," Quimby says.

In East Raleigh, power was still out in some neighborhoods Saturday afternoon. Crews worked to repair downed lines, putting some motorists' plans on hold.

Trees came down in Apex, with limbs and branches scattered across streets. One homeowner had to call the fire department Friday when the wind sucked the chimney right off the roof.

As bad as some of the damage is to property and crops, no injuries were reported. Cleveland Area Takes Brunt of Storm in Johnston County

Strong winds ripped a path of damage through the Cleveland Commons Shopping Center in Johnston County.

Truck driver Dave Denny was sitting inside his tractor-trailer around 6 p.m. Friday when the storm took him by surprise, turning the truck on its side.

"The truck shook a little bit, then, all of a sudden, it lifted up, and I grabbed the wheel and I went over." Denny says "I kicked the door open on the passenger side, got out of there, and I ran."

Also at the shopping center, winds knocked out a window at a Wachovia Bank branch and through the golden arches of a McDonald's sign.

Some people say they saw a tornado in that area, but theNational Weather Servicehas not confirmed the reports.

Witnesses say the storm seemed to come out of nowhere.

"The weather was like really nice at first, and then it just kept getting darker and darker. Then, all of a sudden, it went black," says shopper Janet Clark.

A few miles away, winds shattered a skylight at the Macedonia United Church of Christ. Rain poured in, causing heavy water damage to the sanctuary. Cumberland County Man's Truck Hit By Lightning; Damage Reported Across the State

Paramedics treated a Cumberland County man after the truck he was driving was hit by lightning.

David Bullock, 23, was knocked unconscious as he drove along N.C. 24 Friday evening in eastern Cumberland County.

Elsewhere in the state, storms dropped golfball-size hail in Rowan County. High winds damaged three small airplanes at the county airport, flipping two of them.

Trees and power lines were downed across the state, from the mountains to the coast. Tens of Thousands in the Dark

Crews worked through the day Saturday to restore power to the thousands of people left in the dark.

At the height of the storm, as many as 180,000Duke PowerandCP&Lcustomers were without power; about 55,000 of those customers were in the Triangle.

As of Saturday night, CP&L reported that most of its customers were back online. Duke Power said tens of thousands of customers remained in the dark, and they may not get their power back until Sunday.

Sharron Benton lost power Friday evening, and as the Saturday sun blazed, her Raleigh home felt more like a greenhouse.

"We have not had power since 5:45 yesterday, and it is getting to that point where it is a little warm," she says.

Peppy, the Benton's pet cockatoo, enjoyed the tropical feeling until the juice started flowing again, shortly before 2 p.m. From staff and wire reports

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Julia Lewis, Reporter
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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